“I will place my dwelling in your midst.”- Leviticus 26:11

I take around with me in my passport folder a little card which says “Especially for You -Thought for every day” in which is inscribed, in my mother’s handwriting, the following words of wisdom: “Limitations surround us because we believe in our inability to do what we desire. The ideal of perfect liberty is the converse of all this and follows a sequence which consists of three affirmations: I am therefore I can therefore I will and the last affirmation results in the projection of our powers to the accomplishment of the desired object.” These thoughts she attributed to the essays of Thomas Howard. I do not remember when my mother gave me this card but we are talking decades rather than years. Through the affirmations in this card she is still shepherding me every day even though her spirit has now shed its earthly body.

Last week St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, while delivering a lecture at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, challenged his regional colleagues to be honest about the hard and innovative decisions that must be made today. He was frustrated that countries are busy looking inward, each busy with its own agenda rather than to pursue Caribbean innovative economic growth solutions.

Quite independently, there was another newspaper article reporting that the Antigua and Barbuda Opposition Leader Gaston Browne said Barbados now has 48 percent shareholding in the regional carrier LIAT which was at one point basically owned lock, stock and barrel by Antigua and Barbuda. This has given Barbados the bargaining power to effect a shift in LIAT’s Engineering and Scheduling Department from Antigua and perhaps eventually the entire operation to Barbados. Browne was very critical of government and said this move could have been prevented if the government had opted for equity rather than loans when it invested tens of millions of dollars in the airline. This strategy has resulted in putting Antigua and Barbuda jobs at risk.

Last week I was invited to speak at a Global Event Planners event seminar and showcase on Investment and Financial Products at the Central Bank of Barbados where I posed the national challenge “How to Grow an Economy – One Successful Entrepreneur after Another”.

My topic was “The Prospects for a Benevolent Seed/Venture Capital Investment Fund with Shepherding as Collateral”. I enjoyed myself immensely over the 45-minute interactive session with the audience, representing a wide variety of interests including entrepreneurs.

The final episode of the Bank on Me TV reality show was recorded before a studio audience at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination last week. This episode will be on CBC TV 8 on Tuesday, November 5 at 8.05 p.m. The first five episodes are available for viewing at www.bankonme.tv.

On that recording, David Neilands – in his role as one of the judges for the TV reality series – reflected on the high quality of applicants to participate in the series and, in particular, the excellent pitches by the finalists, accompanied by endorsements by their shepherds, to convince investors that they should “Bank on Me”.

David was motivated to mention the tenor of an extract, from my last week column, which stated: “The failure of the public and private sectors to act on the creation of a benevolent source of investment funding for entrepreneurs in the making, start-up entrepreneurs and existing entrepreneurs, whether they are established, growing or branching out into new fields of endeavour. My recent experiences in Barbados and Trinidad have shown that there is no shortage of entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas but they must be nurtured in an environment of benevolent investment capital and shepherding to augment the rate of business success and protect the financial investment. The current “Bank on ME” reality TV show, quite apart from its entertainment value, has further shown the number of entrepreneurs out there who are in need of help, the value of shepherding in the improvement of the businesses in a few short weeks, and the need for a source of funding with is other than traditional loan financing.”

He joined the cry for a timely and appropriate source of funding which will help these emerging entrepreneurs soar to greater heights and contribute to the growth of the economy, one successful enterprise after another. I interpret his comments as urging the private sector, with government support, to embrace the present moment and contribute to their own growth and to the growth of the country through innovative financial investment solutions to the plethora of enterprises promoted by entrepreneurs. May I remind readers that such an innovative solution, launched by the late Prime Minster of Barbados David Thompson in November 2009, is the well documented Barbados Entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital Fund which is in urgent need of recapitalisation especially given the increase in demand from enterprises for investment financing on a daily basis.

My last column ended with the following paragraph: “Let our leaders remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and that they need to establish and maintain contact with their spirituality if we are to see a turnaround in our fortunes and advance to greater heights.”

With that foundation of spirituality, may our political leaders exercise their powers to create innovative solutions. One innovative solution, in the spirit of smart partnership, is for the political leaders to formally surround themselves with the best brains available within their budget to develop these creative solutions sector by sector and then take step-by-step action to make it happen.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at www.cbetmodel.org).

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